Do you have trouble finishing a novena? If so, you should try the Impossible Novena!
This novena, which starts at the feast of the Annunciation on March 25th and continues for all nine months of Mary’s pregnancy until December 25th, is not called “impossible” because of how difficult it is to actually complete a nine-month novena. Rather, it is an opportunity to ask Our Lady to take the impossible intentions and present them to her son, to plead with him on our behalf.
But why would anyone who can’t complete a nine-day novena attempt a nine-month novena, you ask?
Because prayer is about a relationship, not about checking a box.
Novenas, no matter the length, are opportunities to intentionally take our petitions to the Lord. He doesn’t care if we miss a day of prayer and double up later. He doesn’t care if we get interrupted fourteen million times or fall asleep while trying to pray. He just wants us to develop our relationship with him, to ask for what we need, to make impossible requests every day–all day–and see what happens. He tells us:
Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks, receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened (Mt 7:7- 8).
I found that although I considered myself pretty bad at completing nine-day novenas, I felt much more successful with the nine-month variety. After all, there is more time to make-up for missed days, right? Practically speaking, I recommend saying these prayers during an activity that you do every day (laying with children at bed-time, showering, unloading the dishwasher, driving to work or school, etc.). Some people even double up in anticipation of forgetting sometime soon.
And although I felt some satisfaction upon completing such a long commitment, what the ImPOSSIBLE Novena really revealed to me is how much can change in nine months. As we often hear, the question isn’t IF God answers our prayers, the question is HOW he answers our prayers. In praying intentionally about three specific things for nine months, my heart softened. And as my heart softened, I saw situations in new ways. I could see where the Holy Spirit was leading me and helping me problem-solve. I had new clarity about what to do especially regarding an intention involving my children.
Mothers, if your tired, worn-out heart has been hardened, this novena is for you. If you have intentions that seem utterly impossible for God to answer, this novena is for you. And if you think there is no way you could ever actually complete a nine-month novena, this novena is for you.
The ImPOSSIBLE Novena:
Virgin of the Incarnation, a thousand times we greet thee, a thousand times we praise thee for thy joy when God was incarnated in thee. Because thou art so powerful a Virgin and Mother of God, grant what we ask of thee for the love of God.
[Here state impossible intention #1]
Hail Mary, full of grace . . .
Repeat all of above for impossible intention #2;
Repeat all of above for impossible intention #3;
Remember, O most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Blessed be the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, in heaven, on earth, and everywhere. AMEN.